COLUMBUS (AP) — Steubenville had the football and the momentum with less than 4 minutes left Friday and seemed poised to avenge the loss to Columbus Bishop Hartley in last year’s state high school championship game. But, again, the Big Red couldn’t get it done.
Hartley’s Matteo Agriesti kicked a 31-yard field goal with 2 seconds left to spur the Hawks past Steubenville 24-21 in the Division IV final at Ohio Stadium.
Steubenville (13-2) fought back from a two-touchdown deficit and tied the score at 21 on a 21-yard touchdown pass from Javon Davis to Charles Reed with 5:48 left in the game.
The Big Red got the ball back on a punt, and their kicker, Mark Smith, set up for a 41-yard field goal attempt with 1:32 remaining. But Smith squibbed the kick, and Hartley linebacker Cody Kirkbride snagged it out of the air and galloped 57 yards back to the Big Red 23.
“It was a good feeling — right place, right time,” Kirkbride said.
Agriesti, a soccer player for Steubenville, kicked the winning field goal four plays later, for the Hawks’ only points of the second half.
“The fact he returned it so far, we were in field goal position,” Hartley coach Brad Burchfield said. “We were going to take a shot at it. If we’re going to kick a field goal, the worst-case scenario is if that doesn’t happen we’re going to overtime.”
Marquette Dixon rushed for 178 yards and a touchdown for Hartley (13-2), and teammate Nick Onega ran for 107 yards and another score.
Jalen McGhee paced Steubenville with 122 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
Hartley outgained Steubenville 322-245.
Hartley led 21-14 at the half on the strength of a 98-yard drive capped by a 38-yard TD run by Onega, a 32-yard fourth-down scoring pass from quarterback Jake Ruby to Jaden Manley and a 44-yard TD romp by Dixon.
Steubenville pulled to within a touchdown at the end of the half when Johnny Agresta plunged in from 2 yards out. Agresta appeared to be stopped as he slammed into the middle of the line, but he moved with the pile into the end zone.
“We were good enough to win the game,” Steubenville coach Reno Saccoccia said. “The kids did everything in their power to win the game.”
Hartley beat Steubenville in the 2015 final 31-28, with a late interception by Kirkbride sealing the win.
Marion Local beats Cuyahoga Heights 21-17
Maria Stein Marion Local had its run of four straight state titles end last season when it couldn’t hold a 13-point halftime lead and lost 22-20 to Kirtland.
The Flyers were up by 18 in the second half Friday and had to hold on for a 21-17 victory over Cuyahoga Heights in the Division VI state football final at Ohio Stadium.
“It just feels great, especially after losing last year,” Marion Local center/defensive tackle Luke Moorman said. “It was hard losing last year. It just feels good to be back on top.”
Quarterback Duane Leugers ran for 113 yards and two scores and passed for 114 yards for the Flyers (14-1), who won their fifth title in six seasons and their ninth since 2000.
Cuyahoga Heights (14-1), playing for its first championship, took a 3-0 lead but could not stop Marion Local the first three times it had the ball to trail 21-3 at the half.
“They had the ball three times and scored three times,” Cuyahoga Heights coach Al Martin said. “But we were right there on a number of occasions. Sometimes it was their kids making better plays. Sometimes we didn’t do what we were capable of doing.”
Nate Moeller gave the Flyers a 7-3 lead with a 1-yard run at 8:59 of the first quarter and Leugers had rushing scores of 1 and 22 yards in the second. The first TD finished a 99-yard, 19-play drive.
The Flyers’ drive started ominously with false start penalty but Leugers wasn’t rattled and eventually scored on a fourth-down run.
“The first two plays didn’t go that well, and I was just kind of thinking, ‘Wow, this could get ugly real fast,’” he said. “The next thing you know, we’re going down the field and put it in the end zone. It was a big score.”
The Redskins rallied and got a 2-yard TD run by quarterback Brett Lowther at 4:38 of third and a 1-yarder by Lucas D’Orazio with 11:44 left in the game to make it 21-17 after Chad McDaniel blocked and recovered a Marion Local punt the previous play.
Cuyahoga Heights drove to the Marion Local 35-yard line in the last minute but was stopped on downs with 7 seconds left. The key play was a first-down sack of Lowther by Jack Homan that resulted in a fumble and a 12-yard loss.
Cincinnati La Salle wins 3rd straight title, 14-7 over Perry
Tre’Sean Smith is a defensive back first and running back second for Cincinnati La Salle in most instances.
That was the case Thursday in the Division II state football championship at Ohio Stadium when he had no carries and the Lancers trailed Massillon Perry 7-0 at halftime.
In the second half, he had 124 yards on 17 rushes and the two touchdowns that gave LaSalle a 14-7 victory for a third straight title.
Smith scored on a 12-yard run with 3:46 left in the game Thursday to secure it. His run to the right pylon completed a six-play, 65-yard drive for the 13-2 Lancers, who beat the 12-3 Perry 42-0 in last year’s title game.
“I ran the plays coach called,” Smith said. “Shout-outs to our O-line. They were really in the trenches. They did their job.”
Perry, seeking its first title, took a 7-0 lead with 5:56 left in the first quarter when Dominick Brown intercepted a Griffin Merritt pass and went untouched 17 yards.
“We felt they didn’t respect us,” Perry coach Keith Wakefield said. “Our guys came to play. They weren’t intimidated. They were ready to play.”
La Salle had only 23 yards of offense, all on the ground, in the first quarter but in the second had a sustained drive deep into Perry territory. But personal fouls on consecutive plays and a quarterback sack left the Lancers facing a third-and-36 from their 43.
Merritt tried a deep ball down the middle but Tevion Cleveland made the interception at the Perry 29 and returned it 21 yards to the 50.
La Salle pounded out a 12-play, 84-yard drive that consumed 5:15 to tie the score at 7 with 2:53 left in the third quarter. Smith had a 33-yard run before his 3-yard scoring run.
Perry went for it on fourth-and-5 at the Lancers’ 35 with six minutes left in the game but a pass by quarterback Max Baker to Cleveland at the 5 was a yard too long.
“We couldn’t muster any offense,” Wakefield said. “We struggled with that all year but we played great defense against them.”